Daily Archives: December 18, 2013

Lagging the Popgeist: Pacific Rim (2013)

As a general but far from inviolate rule PG-13 films, often action genre blockbusters, are written with 12 year boys in mind. Pacific Rim tends to follow this convention, featuring stock characters, awesome visuals, and a formulaic plot that predictably offers the barest gesture at psychological interiority in its undeveloped themes of intimacy and loss. Rather than recapitulate that narrative structure, it might be more interesting to focus on a handful of related signs that should be interpreted as speaking to the desires and anxieties of Pacific Rim‘s intended audience. For example, the character of Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), an attractive and damaged orphan raised by the film’s dominant (though not sole) father figure, Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba). In semiotic terms, Mori’s hair style speaks volumes about the nature of early adolescent male heterosexuality– a fraught topic to be sure, but one mobilized in the most innocent, perhaps even prudish, fashion. The touch of blue coloring Mori sports indicates a personality that is not entirely bound by the traditional sense of modesty western audiences have been led to believe via a charged orientalist discourse that women of Asian descent share.

Continue reading